Greetings Fellowship Bookworms,
Yes, it’s still the holiday season, and yes, it probably would have been a good idea just to let December ride as far as the Fellowship goes. Unfortunately, I lack vision. At least I had the good sense to pick a tasty morsel of a book this round! Today we will be discussing The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.
WARNING: We will be discussing the WHOLE book. This will no doubt include SPOILERS. If you did not read the book and would like to participate, pick up a copy of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and give it a read. This post will be here waiting for you when you finish. Now that the particulars are out of the way, I’ll remind you of the premise here. I’ll pose questions in bold and answer them in regular type. If you don’t want your opinions influenced by my rantings, stick to the bold first. Feel free to answer them in the comments, or if you’re so inclined, on your own blog. A linky list will be provided at the end of this post for anybody who has reviewed The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society on their own blog. Don’t be shy, please link up!
1. Did y’all enjoy the epistolary format of this novel? Being composed entirely of letters offers a different perspective. What did you like about it? What didn’t you like?
Sigh. Letter writing is such a lost art, isn’t it? The patience involved in such an endeavor boggles my digital age mind. I rather enjoyed the insertion of telegrams when really urgent messages needed to be conveyed. Perhaps that’s why shouty capitals seem so shouty? IMPORTANT TELEGRAM! THEFT OF OSCAR WILDE LETTERS AT THE HAND OF DEVIOUS SECRETARY IMMINENT. I love a good epistolary novel. Well done, I say.
2. Alright kids, ‘fess up. Who didn’t know that there were islands hanging out in the English Channel that fell to Nazi Occupation in WWII?
Sheepishly raising my hand… So geography isn’t my strong suit, see? And, well, though I’d heard of Guernsey and Jersey (because COWS) I never realized they were islands. Given the fact that I didn’t even channel islands were a thing before picking up this book , I certainly had no clue they fell to German occupation. Everything I’ve ever heard about England during the war was about fortitude and stubbornly hiding in tube tunnels to avoid being blown to bits by constant air raids. I never thought about the poor folks on the islands, because, again, I didn’t know there WERE islands. Sigh. I saw an article a while back where English people tried to name the US states on a map… It makes me feel a little better about my own shortcomings. Check it out HERE.
I haven’t really read a whole lot about occupied territories… The last I read about it was in The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes, though that was about France during WWI. I liked that some of the Germans were given some depth, particularly the random German soldiers nonchalantly kicking potatoes off a truck for the starving English children. Of course, the horrors were never far behind, what with the mini concentration camp they had on Guernsey. The stories are all tales I’ve heard before from different parts of the world during the war, and yet, they never cease to surprise me: the depths of human depravity, the glimmers of human compassion.
4. That Elizabeth, am I right?! What do her actions throughout the occupation reveal about her character and approach to life?
Well, Elizabeth was a feisty one, wasn’t she? Grace under pressure, coming up with a literary society as a cover story for a contraband pork dinner. If she hadn’t such a kind heart, she would have made an excellent con artist. She wasn’t about to listen to convention. Her heart told her to take up with the hot, kind, conscientious objecting Nazi, and she went and had his baby. She reached her absolute breaking point by witnessing one cruelty too many. Vibrant, sassy, and willing to help others at great personal risk. She was a good egg, that Elizabeth.
5. Who was your favorite member of the society?
This is a tough question for me to answer, because I loved so many of them. I liked Dawsey a lot, but I’m taking him out of the running for being the romantic lead. I think my favorite is a tie between Isola and John Booker. Isola and her phrenology, tonics, and pet parrot? John Booker and his posing as his employer, wine theft, and stubborn devotion to Seneca? Yeah. I like the lovable weirdos best.
What did you think, Bookworms? Does anybody want to try baking a potato peel pie? (Just kidding, that sounded pretty gross. Let’s rejoice in the fact that we have no food shortages or rationing!) Please link up below if you have answered any of these questions on your own blog, or have written a review of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society anywhere, ever basically. Don’t be shy!